The government is struggling with a huge issue. They are debating the sensibilities of changing the map on the back of seed packets.

You remember those seed packets with a map of the United States on the back. The map had sweeping colors that were related to a key at the bottom. That key told us when to plants the seeds based on where we lived.

Now the maps are dated. Soil temperatures and climates have changed, and gardeners need to plant seeds earlier than before. Farmers have known this for years. Why is the government slow to react?

First, that is what government does. It reacts slowly.

Second, this is about the politics of global warming. Changing the seed packets would be seen to some as an indictment to those who do not believe that global warming is occurring.

Being from Texas, I am a hunter. I am also by nature fairly conservative. I am not an “environmentalist wacko” or “tree hugger,” but I do care deeply about nature. .

Things are changing in Texas. White-winged dove once lived in the Rio Grande Valley; they now roost, nest and reproduce in the trees surrounding Jersey Village Baptist Church in Northwest Houston. They have migrated several hundred miles to the north. Certainly warmer temperatures play some role in this.

Wild turkeys have been “strutting” earlier in recent years. That is the best time to hunt them. We head out west and await the first week of the season. The wildlife officials assure us that all is well. The local farmers tell us that the turkeys have already done their thing and we will be lucky to catch a sniff or sight of any. How do changes like this occur?

Recently we have experienced warmer years, and I believe this has produced changes in wildlife. Is that due to global warming or the normal cycles of nature?

We need good, unbiased data. That is hard to come by, because politics have muddied the waters. Even admitting that things are changing is difficult.

I remember farmers in West Texas telling me about the droughts of the ’50s. They warned that these things go in 50-year cycles, and we needed to be ready. In the past few years; almost like clockwork, the droughts returned and farmers were hurt.

I haven’t lived long enough to know 50-year cycles, and I am not learned enough to understand global weather trends. That is why I need help from impartial sources.

These are the four things that I wish for the next couple of years.

First, I wish I could express concerns about changes in global weather patterns without having my manhood or Christianity challenged.

Second, I wish there was a place to go for information devoid of politics and bias.

Third, I hope the evangelical community will avoid the temptation to use every anecdotal story as proof positive of global warming. That is not much different than those who read God’s judgment into every natural disaster. We need to look at the big picture.

Fourth, it is time for churches to become actively involved in our care of this planet. Dominion was given in Genesis. It was one of our first callings. We can’t let the power of politics keep us from doing what we can to care for our planet.

Ed Hogan is pastor of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston.

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